The Importance of Computer Literacy

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The Importance of Computer Literacy

The term “computer literacy” is something that you may hear around the office or when talking with peers. Now, you may or may not know exactly what this term means, but with a little explanation you can be on your way to using and understanding the vast world of computers.

Back in 1976, the term “computer literacy” was defined as “any individual who has written a computer program” in Science magazine by John Nevison. Since the introduction of the term, its meaning has undergone many changes. Back in the early days of computers, basically the only people who dealt with them where those whose jobs had them in direct contact with computers. Nowadays, even the typical grandmother can compose and send an e-mail. Since computers are now commonplace in most households, the definition for the term computer literacy can now be defined as anyone who has a basic understanding of their computer and can effectively use it to their advantage.

It’s safe to say that a majority of our society today is computer literate. Many people have learned to use a computer from different hands on techniques. Many of kids nowadays are introduced to computers before they finish fifth grade, with learning a core knowledge of them the


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rest of their time in grade school. Many older folks have been introduced into computers through their younger children. While they don’t go to any kind of school to learn how to use one, one can learn a sizeable knowledge about computers with some hands-on experience. There are also computer classes available at many of the continuing education centers or community centers.

Many people agree that computer literacy is a valuable tool in todays fast pace, information thirsty society. Although, as with anything, you will have a small percentage of people who are unwilling to make the leap into computers. In my personal opinion, it is important for a person to be exposed to computers as early as possible. Computers and the Internet are not just trendy buzzwords that will eventually fade away, computers are our future. Computers are going to be so much a part of our life that I feel that it should be taught right alongside math, science, and other general subjects in grade school. Now, I’m not expecting a sixth grader to be able to program in c language, It should be at a fairly basic level. Even having children exposed to a computer to do basic word-processing is a valuable skill that everyone shouldn’t be without.

Some organizations today suggest that the term computer literate should be replaced with the term information technology competency. They feel that this term better describes the skill necessary for today’s student. If you are asking yourself “What is the difference, they both seem to mean the same thing?” well you’re basically right. Computer literacy and IT competency


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really encompass the same things depending on what skill level you’re on. These skills should include a good knowledge of the following:

     

Word-processing The Internet Basic components of your computer Be able to maintain your computer Be able to use input and output devices Operating systems

So, as you can see, knowing how to use a computer effectively is a very important tool in today’s world. You may be a student typing up a research paper, a manager planning the company budget, or just someone who wants to send e-mail, but it seems that computers are here to stay wither your ready or not.

Computer Literate:

Phrase that means a user has knowledge and understanding of computers and their uses

Word processing software:

One of the most widely used types of application software; allows users to create and manipulate documents that contain text and graphics.


Transmission of messages and files via a computer network such as a local area network or internet.


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“Clinton stresses importance of IT literacy” Nancy Weil Gives specific examples of the importance of computer literacy and statistics.

“Discovering Computers 2002” Gary B. Shelly, Thomas J. Cashman, Misty E. Vermaat. p.1.9 2002 Gives definition of compute literate and information technology and helps explain the similarities and differences between the two.

“Stop Saying Computer literacy!” Brian Harvey Talks about why we should stop using the term computer literate and gives specific examples.